The Notorious R.B.G.

There isn't really any need to explain why Ruth Bader Ginsburg was - and continues to be even after she's gone - an inspiring change-maker. I think there's one point that she strove to make in her lifetime that is incredibly important for all those who still preface their entirely feminist statements with, "I'm not a feminist, but..."

Firstly, if you need to use that disclaimer, you absolutely are a feminist, you just haven't realised that it's nothing to be ashamed of yet. While feminism aims to advance the rights of women, it's not about putting men down to achieve this. This little anecdote from Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik's book about R.B.G. clarifies that nicely.

R.B.G. firmly believed that for women to be equal, men had to be free. An unnamed guest at a dinner party told the New York Times that RBG had fiercely interrupted another guest who mentioned she'd worked on behalf of "women's liberation." "She turned on him and said, "It is not women's liberation; it is women's and men's liberation."

R.B.G. understood that more women in public life would benefit everyone, including men.

As she said,

"I think that men and women, shoulder to shoulder, will work together to make this a better world. Just as I don't think that men are the superior sex, neither do I think women are. I think that it is great that we are beginning to use the talents of all of the people, in all walks of life, and that we no longer have the closed doors that we once had."

Here are some of the enormous strides she made for gender equality in her lifetime:

  1. Before Ginsburg, state-funded schools didn't have to admit women (1996: United States vs. Virginia)

  2. Women couldn't sign a mortgage or have a bank account without a male co-signer (1974: Equal Opportunity Act)

  3. Ginsburg helped women make strides toward equal pay (2007: Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.)

  4. Her presence on the court preserved a woman's right to choose (She has protected Roe vs. Wade since the 1970's)

  5. She pushed to protect pregnant women in the workplace (1972: Struck vs. Secretary of Defense)

  6. Ginsburg argued women should serve on juries (1979: Duren vs. Missouri)

  7. She was a key vote in granting same-sex marriages (2015: Obergefell v. Hodges)

To read more about any of these cases, head here.

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